Frank Oz defends Star Wars: The Last Jedi's version of Yoda. One of the most talked-about scenes in Rian Johnson's polarizing film saw the old Jedi Master return to share one final bit of wisdom with his prized pupil, Luke Skywalker. Their conversation helped underscore one of the movie's primary themes (failure) and ultimately served Luke's character arc. Heeding Yoda's words, Luke chose to become the hero the Resistance (and Rey) needed and cemented his status as a galactic legend people will talk about for years to come.
Like most elements in The Last Jedi, there was a heated debate over the Yoda scene. Some found it to be an emotional and profound reunion between teacher and student, while others took issue with certain aspects. Comedy runs through the sequence, with Yoda cracking himself up as he burned down the first Jedi temple with a bolt of lightning. The portrayal of the character didn't sit well with a circle of viewers, but Oz didn't see any problems with it.
Taking to Twitter to respond to a fan who felt Yoda was "out of character" in The Last Jedi, Oz came to the film's defense by citing his "intimate knowledge of who Yoda is." In Oz's mind, Johnson's Yoda was in line with what was previously established. Check out his post in the space below:
I kind of have pretty intimate knowledge of who Yoda is, and I don’t feel it was out of character at all.— Frank Oz (@TheFrankOzJam) March 14, 2019
Oz has played Yoda several times since 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, so it's safe to say he has a deep understanding of the character. While it's true Yoda's initial actions in Empire were designed as a test to judge Luke, the Jedi's always had a bit of a sense of humor as a defining trait. When he was staring death in the face during Return of the Jedi, he was still able to crack a joke about his physical appearance, and in Attack of the Clones he had no qualms about teasing Obi-Wan in front of a class of children. Destroying the tree (to prove a point) and his eloquent literary criticism about the Jedi texts are just the latest examples of that comical streak. And it's worth mentioning Yoda wasn't a slapstick caricature for his role; much of his dialogue was serious and rang true to the character's previous lessons.
It's worth pointing out that Oz doesn't mince words when he feels one of his beloved characters has been inaccurately portrayed in a new project. His comments about Disney's handling of the Muppets are stark contrast to his feelings on Yoda, so people should take notice here. Oz likely isn't just being nice, though he clearly has a fondness for Johnson's work, seeing that the two reunited on the director's upcoming mystery thriller Knives Out.
Source: Frank Oz
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019